I worked with you on a total of three films back then.
MASARU KONUMA - FILM DIRECTOR I noticed that during preproduction, you were very mild, very inoffensive.
I wasn't aware of that.
But I've noticed that for myself, sometimes when I'm on the set, I become sadistic.
I start getting aggressive or being offensive.
What about you?
I don't do it on purpose.
The night before filming, I do a "shoot" in my head.
It's amazing. Everybody does exactly as I want them to.
The reality is quite different.
It tends to disappoint me.
Does that ever emerge in your everyday life?
Do you ever become aggressive?
I've never picked a fight.
Maybe I would if someone started shouting abuse at me, or if told to "grin and bear it."
Not me. I don't. No way.
I find myself getting masochistic on a shoot.
I'd have to say sometimes I get that too.
A touch of masochism in my personality.
SADISTIC & MASOCHISTIC Fifteen years ago, in midsummer, we shot Woman in the Box right here.
It was the hottest spell of the entire summer.
Just here, at the east exit of Shinjuku Station.
Record temperatures that day. It got to 41 degrees centigrade.
The film had hardly any budget at all, so I did something we're not supposed to do.
HIDEO NAKATA - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR I dashed off to a pub for ice water.
The cast and crew were on the verge of heatstroke.
We parked the van just here.
Inside, they were filming the sadistic sex scene.
The scene required the vehicle to be parked here.
We put barriers all along here to stop the passersby from actually seeing inside.
The reason why we put curtains up was to conceal the sex scene, and also we wanted to shoot the passersby with the station as a backdrop.
What was the director like?
On set, he was quite demanding.
He wanted aggressive acting.
I suppose you could say he was sadistic.
That was my only impression of him.
He considers love scenes to be important to the story.
While we were shooting, he came across as being irritated.
They can see everything.
SAEKO KIZUKI - ACTRESS It was 41 degrees- no air conditioning.
It was hot.
But I've always loved the sauna, so I didn't actually mind the heat.
I thought of it like a sauna.
Good to see you again.
Where were you born?
Up in Otaru, Hokkaido.
What's your family history?
I lived with my mother and father.
Then, as you know, WWII started in 1941.
My father taught school before the war.
Then he got drafted into the army.
Within a year, he was repatriated and died of TB.
I have no memories of him.
There was a festival when I was six or seven.
The most erotic thing back then was the film of a birth.
A baby being born? Yeah.
They had this barker out front.
"Roll up and see everything!"
Then he'd give us a tiny glimpse of what to expect.
It made us all the more eager to watch the film.
We couldn't afford tickets.
So all of us kids were hanging around outside.
We were so eager, but could only catch the occasional glimpse.
In all, there were three films on giving birth, but you could hardly make out what was on screen.
Maybe the producers did it on purpose, but it looked like it was raining on the screen.
Those prints would have been ancient by then.
They'd been dragged around the carnival circuit for years.
In his teens, Konuma's mother remarried.
She told him to leave home.
She sent me off to Tokyo when I was 15.
In those days, there was no TV.
I had no idea about Tokyo.
It was as distant to me as Africa or Alaska is to kids today.
I didn't want to go. I cried.
In Tokyo, I soon got homesick, so I started going to the movies.
It was a way to forget the loneliness.
The locations were the pits!
I sent a crew out carrying a big crowbar- walking down the streets swinging that bar.
When we came across a manhole, we opened it.
Then in Takadanobaba or Shibuya, I think, we found an outlet on the side of a storm drain.
I sent the crew in there to check it out.
They looked so miserable, all hunched over.
It smelled really bad.
That stink was just so depressing.
I remember one funny incident there.
We all arrived on location just after midnight.
Ejima was standing on the road with a big crowbar.
He pried open a manhole and said, "Here it is."
Everyone did a double take. Then they climbed down there.
There seemed to be no place to rig up the lights.
I had my doubts.
We needed two sewers converging, and that was the best he could find.
You reckoned that, for a drain, the water was very clean.
So you built a dam down there.
No one will help you.
The monster is coming to eat you.
There's no escape.
Can you cross the water, Michiyo?
Raw sewage from all over the city.
Dip your foot in it.
Listen to me.
It is fouled with piss, shit and blood.
Animal blood and waste. Menstrual blood.
That's the first I've heard that they built a dam.
Help! I beg you.
I'll do whatever you say.
Please help me.
You really sounded like you'd had enough.
I didn't have to act!
There were swarms of wriggling maggots down there.
You didn't know? No, I-
You were there only briefly.
The director kept only the crew he needed.
Right. You all left.
It wasn't so bad when the entire crew was down there.
Then everyone left, and the camera started rolling.
I was psyching myself up for the scene, getting into character.
Then I noticed on the wall of the tunnel-
At first, it didn't register.
Then I noticed the moving mass was maggots.
I realized I'd leaned up against them, touched them!
I was terrified.
It shows in the shot.
The thing about shooting on location- compared to everyday life, it's another world.
I really like that "reality gap."
The whole atmosphere on a shoot is like a carnival.
On any shoot, everyone becomes fanatical.
But Konuma's crew gets even more intense.
They have to, to keep up with his energy levels.
What will you do next?
I remember that scene. I was drowsy.
That was my big chance. I fell asleep inside the box.
It was so relaxing, just the right temperature.
When the box was opened, I had to say my line.
I was thinking that while I was sleeping.
HIROSHI HANZAWA - PRODUCER I might be the only one who thought so at the time, but Konuma's crew were all over the place.
Then the female lead, that actress Saeko Kizuki- her natural character seemed to bring the production into harmony.
In high school, Konuma watched movies.
He studied in the art department of Nihon University.
In 1961, he joined Nikkatsu as an assistant director.
In the same year, producer Yuki and director Tanaka all joined Nikkatsu around the same time.
OHARA TANAKA KONUMA YUKI Diligent Yuki, slovenly Ohara, OHARA TANAKA KONUMA YUKI faithful Tanaka, reckless Konuma.
A perfect description.
I didn't deliberately strike that pose.
Once I yelled and threw a book at Hasebe.
When Konuma was an assistant director, he rarely did a lick of work.
MASARU MORI - CINEMATOGRAPHER He was always off gambling or playing games.
The movies still got made. They got made.
So there were four ADs there?
We only needed the chief and one assistant.
We didn't notice the other two were missing.
Tanaka was an artist. It was his plan originally.
We saved up from our Nikkatsu salaries.
We wanted to make a movie outside the studio.
KOYU OHARA - DIRECTOR We put Konuma in charge of the money, and he spent it!
He went and blew it all at girlie bars.
He blew a month's salary in one night.
He was buying drinks for all the girls.
All the money we'd saved to make our film, he went and spent every last penny.
Tanaka was absolutely furious.
Anyone would be.
Then what happened?
They reckoned it was their fault for having trusted him.
That was it. We started all over again.
After shooting Shameful School, KATAGIRI KONUMA we began dating.
Really? I wanted to ask you about that.
It's ancient history.
Konuma was the AD YUKO KATAGIRI - ACTRESS when you began your soft-porn career.
You two were dating.
Our apartment house was at the end of a road.
My room was this side, and his was at the end.
She was always disappearing from the set.
Some of the crew got suspicious and tailed her one day.
They thought she was with me!
They thought we were getting it on.
But I couldn't let on that I knew.
So you knew they were dating? Sure.
They were tiny apartments.
My furniture would rattle when she was with him.
We were dating, but we had problems.
Yes. We even broke up once.
Before you got married?
Before I got into soft porn.
The breakup made me determined to throw myself into Roman porno, or soft-porn roles.
The breakup helped? Yes.
Nikkatsu was in decline. They stopped making straight movies.
At one time, there was no shooting for an entire month.
The company and the unions were trying to work it out.
There were negotiations going on to save jobs at the studio.
We expected the soft-porn output to remain viable.
They really didn't eat up much of a budget.
Roman porno was really their last stronghold.
Nikkatsu couldn't have survived without the Roman porno.
In the end, all the unions agreed that we could keep the studio afloat with Roman porno films.
Of course, some objected to our plans.
Lots of them used fictitious or pen names.
Anyone with a credit did, from staff to directors.
But not me. I was the director of cinematography.
My work stood for itself. I saw no reason to hide my identity.
You've heard from the others how passionate they were when Nikkatsu threw all its resources into making Roman porno.
YOSHIHIRO YUKI - PRODUCER We weren't anti anything in those days.
The company laid down six conditions for the productions.
First, there should be a sex scene every 10 minutes.
For the rest, we could do anything we wanted.
All budgets were slashed to 7.5 million yen- $100,000 approximately.
The length of the films had to be 60 to 70 minutes.
Because of the low budgets, all the dialogue and audio had to be dubbed.
Since Nikkatsu had its own studio sets, we were free to use whatever was there.
You could make anything so long as it was Roman porno?
Exactly. That suited me just fine.
I could shoot what I wanted.
But always three or four sex scenes to a film.
Only three or four?
As many as we wanted really, if they approved.
IN THE REALM OF SEX Hey, mister.
I know a good girl.
ARE YOU YUKO KATAGIRI?
MAY I TOUCH YOU?
JUST LIKE A ROMAN PORNO MOVIE.
YOU CALL THAT BONDAGE?
I'd count the number of sex scenes.
The less there were, the better I liked it.
I was always amazed how in just about any possible situation, the couple would end up having sex.
Now, I understand that's what porno is all about.
But back then, I just didn't get it. Why here?
So I talked it over with the director.
If he'd agree to cut even one scene, I was so relieved.
I was naturally reticent.
Did any of your peers ever give a critical assessment of your work?
Kumashiro and other directors would attend preview screenings.
Only Nishimura ever stayed away.
It was amazing.
They'd adjourn to the cafeteria and analyze the film.
Sometimes I really wished they would shut up.
That was the atmosphere that first year.
Nobody would approach me with their comments.
And some were so cruel.
Because it was porno, they seemed to talk more.
Did you ask them to critique your work?
No, I never did, and I never wanted to.
You get a much better assessment from a real audience in a real cinema.
Going by their laughter, their tears, we soon knew if the audience liked the film.
But we never knew if it gave them a hard-on.
So you went to cinemas to study audience reactions?
I'd see men transfixed, holding their breath.
When the cinema showed a triple feature, for example, some men only stayed for about half the program.
Then they'd walk out.
I wanted to yell, "Stay for my film!"
Before Nikkatsu geared up for Roman porno, you'd never even consider going on someone else's set.
But then we'd have three productions all filming at the same time.
I'd be shooting here, Nishimura over there and Konuma down at the end.
All in one studio!
It was bedlam when someone yelled out, "Rolling! Action!"
So we all agreed that we'd take turns.
The audio was added later, so noise didn't matter.
It made it hard to synchronize.
It was almost impossible.
The poor ADs had to work really hard, or else the cast would start getting confused.
I'd let the senior director call "Action." Then I'd count to three and call my "Action."
One day in a production meeting, someone said, "Yeah, but it's only porno."
Konuma was livid.
YOSHIEKI KUKAWA - SET DESIGNER He jumped to his feet and yelled out.
"I'm putting my life on the line making these films!"
When normally quiet Konuma said that, I felt relieved.
Up until then, I'd had a guilty conscience about what I was doing-working on porno films.
At first, Roman porno-
Aiding and abetting porn?
Was given no artistic recognition.
But that made it easier.
We could really go out and bring the fiction to life.
With no recognition, there were no restrictions.
There's one thing I remember the most.
It was difficult to guess what Konuma actually wanted to express.
OSAMU INOUE - EDITOR He doesn't say much.
He's the quiet type.
You'd never know if he walked into the editing suite.
I'd feel a slight breeze, and there he'd be- standing silently, watching.
AFTERNOON AFFAIR - KYOTO HOLY TAPESTRY
Papa, let's play Ping-Pong!
We filmed some extraordinary things.
Wasn't that your plan? No, not at all.
There were a number of themes.
Shogun's Harem was an extraordinary slice of life.
From my point of view- How can I put it?
I wanted to make films that focused on the woman's story.
Lots of directors were making action films.
My theme was the ordinary woman.
We ended up doing all kinds of different scenarios.
First I was painted all over with blood.
We were on the top floor of a block of apartments.
In that scene, I was just about to jump off.
Konuma said, "If you fall off, I'll follow you."
I couldn't believe it. I was petrified.
Just the thought that I could really fall- It was very scary.
So he made you even more scared?
He just made it worse.
I had to concentrate on not falling.
I joined Nikkatsu because I wanted to make Roman porno.
Konuma was already a top director there.
He worked all through the Roman porno era, a total of 18 years.
He made 47 films.
Amazingly, he never made a movie in another genre.
Masaru Konuma and Roman porno- they sustained each other like a pair of sweethearts.
It wasn't like that. More of a conditioned reflex.
After doing it for 10 years, it just became automatic for me.
He focused on visuals.
He always placed the audience first.
He never cared about box office, but he really cared about pleasing his audience.
I was amazed he could stick to that.
HARUHIKO ARAI - SCREENWRITER He'd insist that I write the visuals into the script.
His requests were always abstract.
He'd say, "Be more impressive."
Then he wouldn't mention it again.
Make it impressive? That's all he'd say.
Working with Arai, I'd watched a lot of movies as I was growing up.
I'd take the audience's view when I'd argue with him over a point.
Arai would say, "The audience never knows!"
Then he'd try to make me be more specific about my requests.
Roman porno was the swan song for Nikkatsu Pictures.
You get people like Konuma on other movie lots.
He's a typical film artisan,
but he's not the type of director who shares his vision with the cast and crew.
He's a genius at digesting the crew's input and turning it into product.
In that sense, he really is an exceptional director.
TATTOOED CORE OF FLOWER
How do you do? I am Nakata.
Thank you for coming. I'll accompany you in Tokyo.
Was it a good flight? Yes.
NAOMI TANI - ACTRESS In one of Junichiro Tanizaki's novels, there's a woman called Naomi.
I liked her.
She's so adorable and lives her own life.
I wanted to be like her.
I named myself after Tanizaki's Naomi.
She had a very mature air.
Very talented actress.
She's very imaginative.
Her acting showed real depth.
She was able to project herself into any role.
I believe an actor has to be able to take any role.
When I joined Nikkatsu, Shirakawa was their big star.
NIKKATSU STUDIO Next was Miyashita, and then me.
I had to undertake any role.
But I knew I had to find my own special niche.
That just happened to be S and M.
It's been over 20 years. You're still beautiful!
IKUO NAKAYAMA - WARDROBE I haven't been back here for 20 years.
TAKAKO NOGI - WARDROBE You look great.
They built apartments here.
It was the main office.
This is the cafeteria now.
There were never this many cars parked here.
Here he is!
Long time no see.
It's so good to see you again.
Shooting a new film?
Will I get to direct it for you?
Meet any old friends?
Nakayama, from Wardrobe.
Hello! It's been ages!
You haven't changed. Still quite the dandy.
Where shall we sit?
CinemaScope? Was it shot in CinemaScope?
So it'll be wide.
WIFE TO BE SACRIFICED
What are you looking at, Uncle?
A beautiful woman passed by.
What do you want?
Coming back after all these years-
- Stop it. I just want to see if it fits.
Before going down to town, I lived here with Mika.
Why did you bring me here?
What do you want from me?
Please untie me.
I can't do it like this.
Please close the door.
I want to watch it coming out of your ass.
Then we'll go back inside.
Don't look. I don't want you to watch me.
NAGATOSHI SAKAMOTO - ACTOR
It wasn't what I would call enjoyable.
I felt like I was always in the line of fire.
Konuma's line of fire.
His eyes were- I can only say blue.
His eyes seemed blue.
He's slender and not at all physically threatening.
But his eyes shine like an animal's.
You mean they're offensive?
Not like that.
Like the eyes of a wolf which is about to attack.
Not as if they are intent on attacking.
More like they drew you in by their sheer power.
That brings back memories.
It was a grand wedding.
Kurosawa, our assistant director. Not Akira Kurosawa.
On reflection, he always gave us really good advice.
I still remember what Konuma used to say.
But it's hard to put into practice.
He always said that making movies is not fun.
NAOSUKE KUROSAWA - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR If you had fun, you should feel guilty about it.
I ended up where I just couldn't take it anymore.
But those blue eyes of his got me every time.
Strange to say, but that was what kept me going.
Directed by MASARU KONUMA THE END
Good work. You too.
Well done. Yes, indeed.
How was that?
A real action star. You were great.
We know the story inside out, but I was still captivated by it.
I couldn't remember what was coming next.
You had that toilet built for the movie?
No. Not at all.
It was there.
The house was abandoned.
Nowadays, it wouldn't violate the movie code of ethics.
Now you can show the entire thing, from the beginning to the end.
But back then, it was so shocking.
That one second shot was cut to four frames, one-sixth of a second.
It was quite a bright turd.
I made it like that!
I thought a beautiful woman's turd should be thick and brightly colored.
That's the imagery I wanted to shoot.
A nice big asshole.
I really shouldn't have ordered curry.
Please! I'm trying to forget.
As a student, I'd watch foreign films, Italian films.
I always wondered why they brazenly showed underarm hair.
When I'd see a woman holding a strap on a train or a bus, I thought underarm hair was quite sexy.
Many Japanese directors were influenced by Europeans.
In my first movie, I specifically asked for close-ups when she was writhing in ecstasy.
That's probably just my personal taste.
But the cameraman wasn't at all impressed.
I wondered why that was.
I didn't know what to do.
But in the end, he shot it my way.
The lighting director picked up on what I was trying to capture.
He toned down the lighting just the slightest fraction, and that made it even more erotic.
I wanted bright flesh.
I intended to shoot it in bright, revealing light.
The cameraman didn't want close-ups, but he shot them.
And the light guy found the best compromise.
But in this day and age, you just don't get that creative tension on the set.
No one argues their point of view. They just carry out orders.
Even if the cameraman hates it, he'll do what I say.
But if everyone shoots their films like that, you're gradually going to lose the element of eroticism.
Doing exactly what I say is not always the best thing.
A movie set can be a very strange place.
Reality and movies are different- in opposite corners.
You don't have to be realistic.
Movies should push the limits and exaggerate reality.
Let me give you an example.
When you stab someone in a movie, the blood spurts out.
It doesn't really matter if that doesn't happen in real life.
Because when you put it on the big screen, it works.
I learned that at Nikkatsu.
We created a character who could never really exist.
There is no real Naomi Tani, so we created a fictional one.
The lustful stares gave that scene a tremendous impact.
It changed her. Actually, it's quite a romantic story.
But that never happens in the real world.
Hello. It's me.
Can I come see you?
Yes, as soon as possible.
No, nothing in particular. Not really.
I'm all wet. I'm soaked through.
Some actresses would say...
they didn't understand what I wanted.
They'd want me to show them by example.
So I'd act it out, hoping they'd do it better than me.
Naomi was never like that, but many are.
So I have to be ready for that at all times.
Yes, he'd act out what he wanted from me.
YUKI KAZAMATSURI - ACTRESS Facial expressions too?
Yes, he did. Especially expressions.
Did that help you in your roles?
Well, yes. It sure did.
For an outsider to look in and see that- a male director showing an actress how to writhe- it must look very funny.
But I was eager and tried to imitate him faithfully.
I really tried my best to act how he wanted me to.
I used to prefer being surrounded by all the staff on the set.
But alone in a darkened studio, doing the voice-dubbing afterwards, was so embarrassing.
I really hated that. It was so difficult for me.
And it's very hard to get the timing right, but I soon learned.
Matching the voice to the screen is hard.
FUMIO HASHIMOTO - SOUND MIXER Konuma would show them how to dub.
He'd act out what he wanted from them.
I think that made it easier for them too.
Konuma was a good director for everyone to work with.
When I made the first Azuma film, it was all in my head.
Of course, she had no experience with it, so I had to project to her how an enema felt.
I hooked up earphones for her so she could hear my voice.
Then I went through the scenes and showed her how.
Every moan and groan.
The enema scene?
Yes. You did it?
That was the only way. You couldn't explain it.
If she'd had no experience, all I could do was show her my way.
Did this require much preparation for you?
Would you rehearse it the night before?
I had to. No way we could do it without preparation.
I don't mean the timing. More the emotions.
Was he ever too persistent for you?
Not at all.
But comparing Konuma to other directors, there was an undercurrent there, a definite difference.
Or maybe only I thought so.
What do you mean?
Well, obviously S and M.
Sadism or masochism?
I always thought he had a masochistic element in him.
But I did read an interview where he vigorously denied that.
But he knows more about S and M than most directors.
Act a reality, and it becomes a lie.
It's exactly the same with S and M.
There's only a fine line between them.
Very well put. And you're quite right.
At the cusp, they're almost interchangeable.
They can go either way.
You put it so well. I just have to agree with you.
But no way am I a masochist. Nor am I a sadist. No, no. Not at all.
But if they say I'm not one or the other, I get annoyed.
You gave Mori a hard time.
What? Did I?
Was she sadistic?
Sure she was.
And look, Mori is a classic masochist.
He's a masochist?
If some second-rate actress attacks him, Mori will strike right back at her.
But if it's a quality actress, he will take that punishment.
I guess he's both S and M.
He told us your criticism really hurt him.
He was serious about it.
Of course, he wasn't thrilled at your criticism.
But he had a satisfied look on his face.
That's just Mori for you, whereas I'm the opposite.
The director Sone is noted for his hard-core sadism.
But Konuma is more soft-core sadism.
We called him the snake of Mt. Hachiman.
A soft, clinging snake?
Sone can really bring out the dark side in people.
You can see that in his film, The Red Classroom.
He's really a master at doing that.
But with Konuma-
As I said earlier, he always has an element of softness.
Deep down in him, it's dark but surrounded by softness- like a doughnut.
With Sone, it's all dark.
That's the difference.
Now, Tanaka has a different aura of darkness.
Colors can express the differences.
One's a mixture of red and black. The other's red and blue.
Sone is a mixture of red and black? Yes.
And Tanaka is red and blue? Yeah.
What about Konuma?
He's like Sone.
Red and black. Exactly, surrounded by a lighter glow.
Some spark of light in there.
He never coached the big stars.
But with the new ones, he would act it out for them with feeling.
In my case, I've worked with so many new actresses.
Some of them had no experience at all.
Like Runa Takamura.
They didn't know much.
It was hard work. I just had to jump in and do it.
NAOSUKE KUROSAWA - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR I remember this one here- she was on the verge of suicide.
If I was in her shoes, I don't know what I'd have done.
One time, no one expected her to come back to the shoot.
He gave her such a hard time. He really did.
I expected her to kill herself.
ASAMI OGAWA - ACTRESS They say he was very hard on you.
Would you agree with that?
I thought that was normal.
It was my first time in a movie.
When he rejected all your work and yelled at you, didn't you ever get upset or begin to hate him?
By the end of the day, I was always exhausted.
EROTIC DIARY OF AN OFFICE LADY
There is too much sadness Around me
I'm leaving on a journey.
To some place far away
Filling my pockets with memories I got on a train alone
Outside the train's window An image slips by
Of who I was until yesterday A bitter life
To which I will never return I must say good-bye to this city too
You're very good at shooting love scenes.
As a director, I'm pleased to hear that.
I always prepped the actresses to make them comfortable.
We didn't record sound. She could play her own music.
She brought some jazz tapes in with her.
I didn't mind at all.
There was one incident with her- She got very angry.
On the set, for the shot, we'd move her body, change positions.
While filming, that is. We really had to.
Her legs were wooden when we did upper-body shots.
Without actual sex, her acting couldn't carry it.
So when we tried to fix it, she didn't like that at all.
Is that so?
The poor AD- assistant director.
"Get your hands off me," she screamed at him.
She wanted to do that by herself, I guess.
I worked as Konuma's AD on three productions.
He was the most hate filled man I ever worked for.
To be completely honest, I could have killed him three times over.
His visual skills were what first attracted me.
Then I gradually got to know his other facets.
At times, he was almost impossible to take.
So hateful you really wanted to kill him.
You, as his AD, said the same thing.
You said Konuma almost drove you to murder.
One time, we filmed out on location.
Konuma listed his requirements for the shoot- a beach scene the day after a festival, all the festival debris.
He wanted shots of men roaming around the beach.
And he insisted on having children in the scene, kids playing there at the crack of dawn.
One of them had to carry a baby, papoose-style.
The shoot was set to start at 4:00 a.m.
We had to go wake up all the kids at their homes.
We ended up getting one child from the AD's sister.
It was a newborn, six months old or something.
Finally, we all assembled.
We were at the rendezvous by three minutes past 4:00.
Konuma was livid, and he really let us know it.
The hateful look in his eyes, full of accusation.
Over three minutes?
I never understood that.
I know how a director feels in that situation, but Konuma takes it to extremes.
I've always wondered where all that anger of his comes from.
I never seem to get so out of control.
I wonder where it comes from?
Those hate filled eyes.
I wish I could show you those eyes.
Believe me, I saw them a couple of times myself.
You were his leading lady and also his wife.
Did you ever get to see his hate filled eyes?
Yes. He was the same at home.
At home too?
Were you shocked at that?
What can I say?
Perhaps because I'm masochistic, I thought I should put up with his severe treatment of me.
Then I could overcome almost anything.
It made me a strong woman.
We used to go to the park with actors and actresses to rehearse on the day before the shooting.
But Konuma was never there with us.
We kept rehearsing until, in our minds, we had perfected it.
He gave us no credit at all for that. So what do we do?
Cast and crew initiated a rehearsal?
Without the director?
That's how he works!
At the same time, he would leave the camera entirely up to me.
It sounds like an excuse, but I've nothing to teach an assistant director when we're filming porno.
It's nothing like traditional filmmaking.
There's no set method to follow.
But I consider the director and his AD as one body.
Exactly the same, you mean?
They used to have a saying about me.
Once somebody joined my crew, their girlfriends or wives would give them up as a lost cause.
What's a good way to put it?
I demanded they devote everything to making movies.
OSAMU MURAKAMI - AD & SCREENWRITER I still don't get him.
How can I put it?
In most cases, you can visualize the filmmaking process simply by reading the script.
But Konuma doesn't direct like that.
He starts from the beginning, mixes it all up, then restructures it.
I think his method makes for better films.
A lot of the ADs really appreciated his technique.
But once they get used to his way of working, it's very hard for them to work for another director.
That's what they all say.
If you weren't as involved as he was, he'd get upset.
He'd accuse them of slacking if they weren't as committed as he was.
He wanted everyone to share his level of tension.
I was constantly on edge when working for him.
If he thought we weren't giving it everything, he'd get angry.
Maybe "tormenting" isn't the right word.
But many of his assistants were quite benefited by his treatment of them.
Maybe you got some of that?
Yes, a little.
Obviously, some would take it harder than others.
I was very obedient on the set. I just carried out his orders.
HIDEAKI YOSHIDA - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR He could be nasty, but he was usually right.
I was quite nervous back in those days.
Perhaps that was what spurred him to torment me so.
One time we got a new AD.
Hideo Nakata was his name. He was about three years my junior.
That took some pressure off me, and the timing was brilliant.
Konuma raged at him just like he had at me.
I can remember being thrilled that he was taking the heat.
The thing is, at the end of the day, Konuma never betrayed the ADs in his team.
I don't want to praise him, but that's how it was.
Probably the same thing in his private life with women too.
I don't know where that comes from.
But that's just the way Konuma is.
He's strong willed. He knows what he wants.
Roman porno is essentially a story of men and women.
Perhaps the overriding theme to his work is creating male and female excesses on film.
WOMAN IN THE BOX 2 - WIFE COLLECTOR
Sometimes I don't know where my words come from.
Expressions I use in my films are straight out of Konuma.
Me, too, when I'm directing.
I rage at actors just like Konuma. That came as a shock.
Using the same words?
Yes, all the time.
He can be frightening.
What's your impression of Konuma?
The man is a bloodsucker.
HIROSHI HANZAWA - PRODUCER He sucks up ideas from other people.
I wonder if he has any originality.
I've known him for 10 years, and I still don't know him.
But he'll suck up good elements from anyone he's involved with.
That's one really strong aspect of Konuma's personality.
He'll take that useful thing from them and use it in his work.
At the same time, he's very charming so you can't hate him.
I never expected you to say that.
I imagined everybody would detest the man forever.
I expected you in particular to speak ill of him.
Well, the thing is-
It's not as simple as you expect it to be.
It's easy to cut off the relationship if you think he's wronged you.
Even if you decide, "No more Konuma!"
He'll still call you as if nothing happened.
He's always calling me.
I never really knew what he wanted from me.
I never got a straight answer from him, and I always ended up unhappy with my work.
You can never expect him to praise you for your work.
He always manages to look so annoyed.
So what can you do?
You don't even know what you should say.
I always felt I gave him the wrong answer.
I'd rather not work with him, but, once I do, it's hard to get away.
How can I put it?
My impression is that he's like a turtle.
Yeah, a turtle.
He reminds me of a turtle.
Don't tell him I said so.
There's an element of the lonely old man in him.
As if he's clad in his own shell or a suit of armor.
I guess he's actually a very sad and lonely little man.
And he's full of regret. "Why did I do that? Why? Why?"
Maybe I'm not being too clear, but that's my image of Konuma.
So he's like a turtle?
Yes, with only half his head sticking out of that crusty shell.
This turtle never swims.
He's always bone dry.
There are turtles like that- they never go near the water.
They live on land, and they're not in the slightest bit attractive.
I'd say he lives in a swamp- somewhere fetid like that.
That's my image of him.
he also has soft, vulnerable traits too.
But you can guarantee that he will never expose that softness in front of his team.
I really don't see where the interest in me comes from.
When you said you were going to shoot a documentary about me, I was busy shooting the movie, Nagisa.
I really wondered how you would go about depicting me.
Basically, I'm empty. All I know is my work.
My wife warned me against it, but they engineered a publicity stunt.
I was supposed to have a slavery contract with an actress.
But it was just a stunt by Hanzawa, the producer.
I tied up some actress, and the photo went to the newspapers.
My family and my wife's family were furious about it.
I didn't mind, not if it beefed up the box office for my films.
Hanzawa asked me first. I said I'd do anything for the movie.
So I profited from it, but I did drag my wife into something unsavory.
I don't know how to say it, but that's me in a nutshell.
How do you expect me to explain my part in the big picture?
There's one thing that I must point out.
If they interviewed my ex-wives about me, and if they told the truth, that would make me very sad.
We expected Link Of Love Affairs to be the last of the Roman porno.
Exactly, and I wanted 100 dancers as our finale.
I wanted to prove that we could carry on.
Just a little peek!
LINK OF LOVE AFFAIRS
Let us take your bra and panties off.
We'll do it for you.
You're shaking too much.
Let me do it.
Aren't you lovely!
Now there's one last thing to come off.
Such sweet little panties.
Here we go.
Private Takeuchi. Wait!
That role calls for a sergeant, soldier.
The movies that I saw were of a different genre.
Link Of Love Affairs was a very different type of film from that.
Life on the battlefield is so very fleeting Take your chances at love while you are still young The bright red, luscious lips-
I'll be late for school!
This is my first time.
Bad luck. I'm so embarrassed.
Young girls are superb.
You left your teeth behind!
In 1999, I was back with Konuma for the first time in years.
He was shooting Nagisa with a young female lead.
He was shooting Nagisa with a young female lead. MADOKA MATSUDA
This scene is full of loud music and big sounds.
Open your eyes big and wide.
You yell out your lines with gusto.
Or as you often say, "Something's not right!"
I want more atmosphere in it this time.
So be very playful.
Even in the shade.
Lots of action?
Your posture should show you feel great.
That's enough lechery!
The poor girl. See? You've made her cry.
We need to cut there at that point.
He's a totally different type from me.
He is definitely a strange one.
He's also noted for being very materialistic.
I often say that his blood flows just like the birds.
And that's an apt description.
But he's also a man of heart.
But he's not mushy. He's far more businesslike.
That's why I maintain he's almost a mystery.
I wanted to learn how he made such good trailers.
So I made a study of his various works.
No, it's true! First I've heard of it!
I just never told you.
Film is a montage of picture and sound.
I always stick to the script when I'm making trailers.
But you aren't like that at all.
For action shots, I do three cuts then insert some loud piano notes.
Man has a certain body tempo, an instinctive rhythm.
Konuma calculates those elements when editing.
Image, sound and tempo are the requisite trio in his filmmaking.
Fair enough. But what do you reckon?
Now he kisses me!
Good night. Take care.
See you on Tuesday.
We're all expecting you.
Ready? Rolling. Action!
THE FILMS OF MASARU KONUMA
Featuring MASARU KONUMA SAEKO KIZUKI HIROSHI HANZAWA MASARU MORI KOYU OHARA YUKO KATAGIRI YOSHIHIRO YUKI FUMIO HASHIMOTO OSAMU INOUE YOSHIEKI KUKAWA HARUHIKO ARAI NAOMI TANI NAGATOSHI SAKAMOTO NAOSUKE KUROSAWA YUKI KAZAMATSURI ASAMI OGAWA OSAMU MURAKAMI HIDEAKI YOSHIDA Executive Producer MASAYA NAKAMURA Produced by TOMOYUKI AKAISHI Assistant Producer NATSUKO MORI Assistant Director MASANORI ADACHI Cinematographer KEIICHIRO INOUE Sound Engineer MASATO KOMATSU Editor KOICHI TAKAHASHI Musical Score KENJI KAWAI Directed by HIDEO NAKATA